Could Mushrooms Take the Place of Styrofoam?

mushroom compostable packaging design photo

Photo: Sara Novak

As Styrofoam begins to cover our planet in the same way that it has long covered our consumer products, innovative thinkers like Eben Bayer are looking for responsible materials that don't require fossil fuels and more easily biodegrade. Could mushrooms be the answer? His team has been testing mushrooms for some time now to successfully invent a replacement for plastics or Styrofoam, according to a story on MindBodyGreen. And before you get that smirky grin, we're not talking the psychoactive variety. Bayer has channeled his anger towards what he calls "the toxic white stuff" or Styrofoam into coming up with a better solution. We currently spend $20 billion a year to produce all sorts of Styrofoam, from coolers to carryout containers, and it takes 1.5 liters of petrol to produce just one cubic foot of the stuff. Currently, according to Bayer, Styrofoam occupies 25 percent of our landfills. Instead, we need to come up with a material that fits into nature's own recycling system.

Bayer is using mycelium found in mushrooms as the glue for his new packaging called Mycobond. As a result of the mycelium, the packaging has many of the same properties of Styrofoam, such as insulation, but it's completely compostable. They've even formulated a plan for local manufacturing, using mycelium and other natural ingredients cultivated in your area.

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